Like most of us, I’m engaged in the North London Derby spirit.
I don’t like, nay detest, that lot. They’re not on our level in most – if not all – senses, and they’re not even half the footballing institution that we are.
That said, these are some of my favourite NLD moments of the years.
A selection of games that for various reasons have been the most joyous for me to view, though naturally opinions may differ:
Arsenal 5-2 Spurs – 2011/12
They were flying high under former manager Harry Redknapp, as he managed to build a capable side, at least able to challenge for top four consistently.
At the time they played us here, they were above us in the league and were feeling cocky as per normal.
But despite going two up via goals from Saha and Adebayor (remember him?), two goals from Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie levelled things up at half-time. Moreover, the second half was a blitz with Theo Walcott getting a brace, and Tomas Rosicky adding another.
This for me was our finest showing against them in the Emirates area, certainly.
Arsenal 5-2 Spurs 2012/13
Ironically with the same scoreline as the previous season, but in differing circumstances.
Our old “friend” Mr. Adebayor came to score again, but he must have channelled a dormant inner Gooner, since he got himself ridiculously sent off after 15 minutes. They were leading 1-0 at the time, but after that we dominated them.
The “BFG” got his first Arsenal goal, and Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla, and Walcott all contributed to a fine win. The previous season’s 5-2 for me was more awesome, in large part since we came behind from 2-0 down, and Ade’s sending off whilst comparatively early in the game did affect Tottenham mentally.
Arsenal 3-1 Spurs 1996/97
This was Wenger’s first NLD, and the great man managed to end a noted hoodoo that then Spurs manager Gerry Francis had over us. He managed QPR prior, and proudly stated that he’d never lost to Arsenal as a manager.
This changed though, and how, once the great man took charge of us. Ian Wright (Wright Wright) opened the scoring via a penalty, with Sinton fortuitously equalising for them as the ball ricocheted off the post from Lukic.
The game looked a bit dead for the remainder, until Captain Adams scored a volley, and Bergkamp twisted and turned to add a third.
This probably is my favourite win over Tottenham ever. Yes, it was just a game and not a cup semi, or title decider. But then in just a few months, things progressed from “Arsene who?!” to “Arsene knows”. And it in many ways was a sign of things to come, once the great man bedded himself in, and attained more league titles than Tottenham ever has.
Spurs 1-2 Arsenal 1986/87 (League Cup SF replay)
I believe we beat Spurs away in the league that season, and they didn’t beat us at home either. We were drawn in the League Cup semis, and Clive Allen (who had an ultra-prolific season for them) scored in the first leg, and we won the leg at their place. A random draw was made, and then we won this 2-1, and we naturally defeated Rush and Dalglish et al to win the cup.
The late, great Rocky Rocastle secured a winner for us, but another notable point was that the Tottenham announcers at half-time in the second leg made a flippant and brash comment about how to secure cup-final tickets. This energised the Arsenal team and gave us the impetus to win the second leg, the tie overall, and for Graham to win a trophy in his first season as manager.
Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham 2000/01 FA Cup semi-final
We lost in the final, most unfairly given the chances we missed, to Liverpool, of course. But this game in a way, for me at the least, was memorable for two points. Campbell probably thought we were the place to be, as he played his last game for them before joining us. He got injured in that game, and ironically it was the free-kick which he conceded in the process of injuring himself that we equalised from. They (Gary Doherty) got the opener, with Vieira equalising, and Robert Pires grabbing the winner.
The second memorable point was that our dominance in this game represented the gulf apparent between us and them in many facets. It could, and should, have been about 5 or 6 in truth.
Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham 1991/92
I’m not sure why I like this game a lot – but I think it’s due to a number of factors. When I was a kid at this time, I bought a VHS tape (yes, a retro-blast….) of an Ian Wright goal compilation. It was to celebrate his 100th goal for Arsenal (incidentally and ironically against Crystal Palace in 1994). But of course, one of the goals was vs. that lot in the aforementioned game, and Wrighty scored the opener. Kevin Campbell added the second, and I feel this game stuck since not only was a win vs. the enemy, but it was Wright and his ebullience, effervescence, and prolificacy that made me not only appreciate football on a deeper level, but amongst other factors made me a Gooner.
Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal 13/14
This was to date our last league win at their place – well their old place to be accurate.
But whilst this win didn’t help us win the league that season, “Super Tom” scored a cracker, which must stand as one of the most aesthetically astounding NLD goals ever.
Arsenal 3-0 Spurs 2002/03
The same as above could be cited for Thierry Henry here.
If you’ve ever wondered why the Henry statue is constructed in that pose – well now you know…..
Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal 2003/2004
We only needed a draw, and unfortunately only got it after being 2-0 up at one point, but we repeated the heroics of 1971, and won the league at their ground twice.
That’s the same number of leagues they’ve ever won – period.
There are many more I’m sure, but these are some that spring to mind, at least in my lifetime and hold a defined place in my memory.